|Master of Religious Philosophy ~ Lesson 16 - Religious Functionality - Political|
Q.1. ) If your faith taught you that you were to "keep separate" from the secular world (assuming that it doesn't), what would you do if the government ordered you to participate at threat of jail time? What if the consequences included potential death (as it did for Jehovah's Witnesses in World War II Germany)?
A.1. ) I would do time in jail! As an example I recently wrote a piece
about Gay Marriage and drawing a line in the sand. My conclusion was
that I, would do time in prison or even except death if I, as a
minister would be legislated to perform a Marriage between Gay
couples. I believe that if such a law were enforced upon religions
that did not agree with the new policy that many religious leaders
would be faced with this very moral dilemma. Thus, having to make a
choice them selves.
However, to me it is a play on words that could be negated if the
parties involved were to consider the options. Ether exempt religious
faiths that took a stand against this mandate and only require the
local Justice of the Peace to perform these duties, or for them (the
Gay Community), to consider not using the word marriage so as not to
imply the union that is held sacred by many religious faiths as being
between a man and a woman. Rather, calling it a union or even common
law, or even a civil union, these are considered by many states as a
common and legal solution already in place by local and state
governments and would hold up in a court of law at any supreme court
level. There is "NO need" to change or amend the constitutions on the
federal or state levels if an agreement is the final consensus.
Q.2. ) If your faith taught you that it was your religious duty to
"get involved" in the secular world (assuming that it doesn't) to
ensure that the secular world conforms to the teachings of God (as
they understand them), what would you do when a different religious
group complained that their religious freedom was being denied as a
result? Would you exempt them? Would you punish them for not
acquiescing? Would you decide that any negative consequences for them
were brought about by their refusal to comply with the Will of God?
A.2. ) Again, I would do the time in prison if forced to do something
that went against my beliefs, Although, I might consider an common
solution for other parties but only after much discourse on the
matter. Punishment is not what I was taught as a solution to the
problems that come by secular means. Diplomacy and Compromise if
rendered fair between all parties seems to be a more preferred way of
coming to a conclusion to any situation.
However, if those negotiations break down as a result of one party not
being willing to compromise, than as in many cases the majority rule
is imposed by the other parties and made to happen, even if by force.
Granted that with this option it would be a travesty for many involved
or even indirectly involved not to mention that a great deal of
unnecessary sufferings would be imposed on both parties. In the
Christian Holy Bible Christ says, Render therefore unto Caesar the
things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.
(Luke ch.20. ver.25).
The implantation here is the separation of Church and State but also that we are to do as the law requires unless it is against our beliefs, then we are to take a stand and get involved. In doing so we risk the suffering of many for the common good of all. There is only a problem if there is opposition to what ever cause be the issue of contention. We by faith and by direct communication are taught that we should, in prayer leave our request to the Lord God and have the faith that in doing so, it shall be granted by that measure of faith.
So sitting back and doing nothing is to me not relevant but sitting back knowing that I could do something about what ever situation was at hand and then still choosing to do nothing would constitute a mortal sin for not complying an effort to render the situation to a conclusion that complied to the belief that Christ taught us and commanded us, which is to love thy neighbor as thy self.
So in other words, if I don't want it to happen to me, then why would I want it to happen to someone else. In this case it is not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It is rather about Christian Love. Fight when backed into a corner but only as a last result, justifying it to those same principles.
Rev.Fr. Andrew R. M. Manley
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